Sunday, March 20, 2011

...listening to Dr. Phatak - a thought provoking experience!!!

IIT is reason enough for me to get excited, moreover this time it was a professor from IIT Powai talking to us at the keynote of DKOM - Developer KickOff Meeting. IIT Powai reminds me of the Mathematics workshop we attended there, while doing TY BSc, those days my only aim in life was to pursue MSc. Mathematics at IIT...well that can be a blog in of now the focus is the keynote by Dr. Phatak.

He had around 98 slides each with a few words, and trust me each slide was thought provoking. He started off with the dream each of us have about getting a good degree, decent job, a house , joy and happiness et all.. and continued on to the dream most of us envision for India. He had some very interesting anecdotes that kept us gripped to the session that went on for more than 60 minutes. One of them was about this paper set at IIT for electrical engineering. There seemed to be a problem which Dr Deepak and another professor were not able to solve, and thus went to Professor Mukherjee who had set the paper. Professor Mukherjee told them that this problem was part of a research paper and had not been solved for 10 years. He thought that the batch was intelligent enough to solve them. The very confidence of Professor Mukherjee on his batch was enough for the students to host a "Milk Shake" party, which is one of most desired celebrations for the hostelites.

Simple facts stated by him like, most of us learn our mother tongue and another language (thanks to the cosmo culture of today) in the age group of 2 to 4. At this age all of us were alike. It is the grooming afterwards that has a great impact on the way we proceed in life. He continued to say a teacher is an institution created by mankind as we don't transfer our knowledge through heredity. Today the institution is powerful but not the teacher. While at this prestigious institution the teacher continues to be empowered. The teacher has all the rights to set syllabus as well as the question paper and his/her decision is the final one. Best part is that IITians are proud of this fact...perhaps thats what is the most striking feature of an IITian. The learning is wholesome and not restricted to the typical syllabus. Well there are my thoughts and Dr Phatak did not endorse IIT.

He also pointed out our way of partitioning knowledge the way we have in our educational system.
We in IT often don't show the urge to understand problems relevant to other areas like biotechnology, physics or chemistry. A simple question that he asked was ...does a problem come with a tag...I am a PHYSICS PROBLEM?? a problem is a problem and we need a solution...there are no boundaries in problem solving.

The satisfaction of attempting 10 difficult problems and getting a solution to just 1 or may be none is much higher, along with the learning, as compared to that of solving 10 easy problems.
Simple facts of life all woven to tell us that we need to continue learning. Face the problems and attempt to solve them. Never let the desire to learn stop....

I salute this great teacher...and hope to learn and more importantly implement what he shared with us.

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